EUGENE, Ore. — Photos of an off-campus tailgate which show hundreds of University of Oregon students gathering are causing controversy online.
UO’s annual spring football game on Saturday did not allow fans in the stands due to Lane County’s upgrade to the extreme risk level.
Mojo Hill, the UO sophomore that took the pictures, said he was surprised to see an event like this after Lane County moved up to extreme risk.
“I got to take a picture of this. This is ridiculous,” Hill said. “I didn’t tweet this with the intention of going viral. I was just like Jesus … COVID.”
Jason Davis, a spokesperson at Lane County Public Health, said he hasn’t seen the photos, but large gatherings of any kind are premature.
“Certainly we are all eager to connect with each other but we’re just not quite there,” Davis said. “40% more of our population vaccinated and we won’t be having this conversation!”
Kevin Jong said the gatherings are a sort of response to the tight restrictions being enforced on campus.
“They were getting angsty and a little cooped up and they wanted to celebrate,” Kevin Jong, a UO senior said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise at all.”
Jong said he believed most of the party-goers were vaccinated.
The University of Oregon released a statement regarding these photos:
“We are disappointed to see the photo of a large gathering of young people at what appears to be an off-campus party involving UO students from over the weekend. The university has worked very hard to educate students about the serious COVID-19 health risks of gathering in groups without masks. This behavior is not representative of the majority of UO students, who we have seen work diligently to follow health guidelines.”